Firefighters creating community connections on Gunaikurnai country

Firefighters in Morwell celebrated NAIDOC Week with local Aboriginal community leaders, including a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony.

Monday, 16 November 2020 at 5:45 am

The event marked the beginning of a partnership between The Gathering Place and local Aboriginal community, and the Morwell fire station.

Fire Rescue Victoria firefighter Amanda Hill, a proud Torres Strait Islander woman, helped to establish the partnership and said this week’s ceremony was just the beginning of a relationship that will see local FRV crews learn more about the land they are living and working on.

“We have so much to learn from community and Elders about the land, the weather and caring for country,” Amanda said.

“Their wisdom and knowledge is invaluable to us in our work, and by learning more about traditional ways of using the land, we can make sure we are not only caring for the land but also important cultural sites and practices.

“Being part of the community here is so important to us as firefighters, and connecting with the people we work and live with.

“It’s also so important to me to inspire young First Nations people and children to consider firefighting as a career, and demonstrate how we can give back to communities around us.”

Fire Rescue Commissioner Ken Block said the partnership was an inspiring initiative.

“It’s wonderful to see relationship like this across the state.”

“Victoria is a diverse place and our communities are rich in expertise and knowledge.

“Learning from our First Nations community members strengthens our work, and it’s a privilege to be able to work together with them to protect and care for our people and places.”

This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is ‘Always Was, Always Will Be,’ which acknowledges the spiritual and cultural connection First Nations people have had to Australia for tens of thousands of years.